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US Sailing Team at 2020 ILCA Women's Laser Radial World Championships - Day 1

by Brittney Manning 23 Feb 06:34 PST
Paige Railey at the 2020 ILCA Women's Laser Radial World Championships, day 1 © Jon West Photography

The 2020 ILCA Women's Laser Radial World Championships are off to a slow start as conflicting breezes delivered unstable racing conditions for day one. Throughout the afternoon, a southerly seabreeze fought southeasterly winds coming off the land to create some especially shifty racing.

The 30-40 degree shifts at six to nine knots created very challenging racing for the athletes. "You had to be decisive off the start line and know when to defend your position versus attack to gain more spots—it was a tricky day," said Steve Mitchell (GBR), the US Sailing Team's Laser Radial coach.

On top of the massive swings in direction, the shifts were difficult to anticipate and prepare for. Mitchell added, "There were people who did really well that come out of one corner, and people who did really poorly that came from the other corner, but it was very hard to know which side would win until after the race."

Faring best among the U.S. athletes, Erika Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) erred on the conservative side to finish 17th overall. Though she may have missed a few opportunities, Mitchell is comfortable with her aversion to taking significant risks on day one, "She missed a few opportunities where she could have attacked, and was a bit too conservative, but for the first race of a regatta, you have to be."

On the other end of the spectrum, Reineke's teammate Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) took a chance at the first leeward mark rounding that set her back to finish 27th.

"She was doing alright, just outside the top ten and at the bottom mark," said Mitchell. "Then she made an attacking decision rather than defending her position and took some risk that she didn't really need to take. It was a bit of a lesson learned, on when to attack and defend when it's shifty and there could be big place changes."

Similar to Railey, US Sailing Team athlete, Charlotte Rose (Houston, Texas) made a decision that got her stuck on the wrong side of a shift and cost her some points in the race. After having a tough time trying to climb back through the fleet, she finished in 39th.

Because the wind never settled in from either direction, the competitors only finished one race in each fleet. With plenty of racing left in the regatta, the US Sailing Team athletes are looking forward to getting back on the water, hopefully for full days of racing.

According to US Sailing's Olympic Development Director Leandro Spina (Miami, Fla.), who is also providing coaching support, "Tomorrow we're expecting light wind, followed by a cold front on Tuesday."

Melbourne has proven to deliver a varied set of conditions, and at a long competitive event such as this Worlds, the best will succeed in adjusting their game to the specific challenges of each day's weather scenario. The athletes will have to maintain a fresh outlook and mentality while keeping their bodies in top physical form for each day's racing.

The race committee will attempt to make up for the cancelled race today and run three tomorrow, beginning at 2:00 p.m., local time.

U.S. Laser Radial Results after DAy 1: (View Full Results)

  • Erika Reineke - 32nd
  • Paige Railey - 52nd
  • Charlotte Rose - 77th
  • Hanne Weaver - 58th

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